Software User Documentation is often a last minute effort to deliver your software product and get it out the door. Your development team had a long list of requirements, so the documentation sometimes gets downsized in importance or it is sometimes neglected completely.
As usual, I bring this article to you courtesy of JACQUIE SAMUELS, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.
Guess what: That’s not how customers see it.
I bring this article to you courtesy of Dennis Crane, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.
Nobody reads help files!
Are you sure?
In the ten years that we’ve been developing Dr.Explain, a leading-edge tool for creating help files, we saw hundreds of our customers’ projects. Our technical support team mostly receives user documentation for software products with requests to help implement some tricks. When talking with our customers, we ask them all kinds of questions about their projects, business areas, products, and audiences.
Based on that experience, we can draw a lot of conclusions, including this one: Users do read user documentation. In many cases, users frequently consult with such documentation. In some projects, it is a vital component of the product or services.
However, sometimes people do not use user documentation. In most cases, the reasons are as follows.
I bring this article to you courtesy of Ellis Pratt, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.
Technology has changed enormously over the last 70 years. But have technical communication standards kept up sufficiently to reflect these changes? It appears that some of the most successful software companies are breaking generally accepted best practice in technical writing – a trend that clearly should get us thinking.
If you were going back in time twenty or twenty five years and found yourself in a classroom learning about technical writing, you’d probably find it was almost identical to classes on this subject offered today. Technical communicators tend to assume that technical communication best practices, which have been taught for the past 25 years, and even further back in time, are still appropriate today.
I bring this article to you courtesy of Ron C Johnson, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.
As you might expect, technical writing is not just about writing. Certainly writing is a core skill, but depending on the job, the industry, and the purpose of the writing, a technical writer may wear many hats. Often tech writers’ responsibilities touch on editing, graphics, photography, formatting, marketing, training, designing, and document management/control, just to name a few. Continue reading “Ten things Clients should know about Technical Writing”
Like any profession, becoming a technical writer requires a mastery of a certain set of skills. This skill set used to involve primarily writing and illustration skills, as large manuals for print publication were the standard in the profession. The worlds of communications and technology have evolved dramatically in the latter part of the 20th century and the early part of this century. How has that evolution affected the skill set required for a technical writer?
Some business managers fail to recognize the impact on profitability of good technical documentation and other support literature, or the lack thereof.
You might hear them say—as I have—“It’s not really a priority at the moment” or “We may consider it later” or even “It cost too much, we’ll have to do without it”. And yet, with your eyes and ears open, you will learn that:
- Many industrial accidents happen because of inadequate procedural documentation or training.
- Many high-tech products fail in the marketplace because customers don’t receive the information they need to use them effectively.
- Many investments in costly new business systems fail to achieve results because structured training and user assistance materials are not part of the plan.
Technical writers can add a great deal of value to your products or services.
There are plenty of definitions regarding Rapid e-Learning. A lot of them are variations of strange theories. But, I have only one definition:
“Rapid e-Learning is the development of learning courseware within a short timeline, which is achieved using basic templates which form a static framework and contains the learning content.”
This implies that not much time is spent on creating complex and pretty animations and interactions. There is debate aplenty in e-learning circles and many people may consider e-learning not valid unless it has a high level of interactivity, pulsing text and images and other bells and whistles, such as nonsensical games. Anything less may be considered as boring click-and-read material. All this just adds extra time (lots of it) and extra expense.
It is easy to disguise poor instructional design with slick effects and animations. However, a lot of this stuff is neither necessary or effective and I believe all these repetitive flying, flashing texts and images can trigger extreme irritation.
I bring this article to you courtesy of UXmatters, as I think it adds enormous pertinence to what I do. You may view the original article here.
Making the Deal: Supporting Product Demos with User Assistance
By Mike Hughes
Published: August 23, 2010